Denise Mina was born in Glasgow in
1966. Because of her father's job as an engineer, the family followed
the north sea oil boom of the
seventies around Europe, moving twenty one times in eighteen years
from Paris to the Hague, London, Scotland and Bergen. She left
school at sixteen and did a number of poorly paid jobs: working
in a meat factory, bar maid, kitchen porter and cook. Eventually
she settled in auxiliary nursing for geriatric and terminal care
At twenty one she passed exams, got into study Law
at Glasgow University and went on to research a PhD thesis at Strathclyde
University on the
ascription of mental illness to female offenders, teaching criminology
and criminal law in the mean time. Misusing her grant she stayed
home and wrote a novel, 'Garnethill' when she was supposed to be
researching and writing her thesis.
'Garnethill' won the Crime Writers' Association
John Creasy Dagger for the best first crime novel and was the start
of a trilogy completed
by 'Exile' and 'Resolution'.
A fourth novel followed, a stand alone,
named 'Sanctum' in the UK and 'Deception' in the US.
In 2005 'The
Field of Blood' was published, the first of a series of five books
following the career and life of journalist Paddy
Meehan from the newsrooms of the early 1980s, through the momentous
of the nineteen nineties. The second in the series was published
2006, ‘The Dead Hour’ and the third, “The Last
the UK and “Slip of the Knife’ in the US.
“The Field of Blood” was filmed by Slate and BBC Scotland.
Here’s an interview between Denise and Jayd
Johnston, who played Paddy and won the 2011 BAFTA for Best Actress
The second book “The
Dead Hour” was filmed in 2012 and
the third will follow, hopefully.
“Still Midnight”, the first of the Alex
Morrow books was followed by “The End of the Wasp Season”, “Gods
and Beasts” and “The
Red Road” will be out this summer.
She also writes comics and wrote ‘Hellblazer’,
the John Constantine series for Vertigo, for a year, published
soon as graphic
novels called ‘Empathy is the Enemy’ and ‘The
Red Right Hand’.
A one-off graphic novel about
spree killing and property prices was published in 2008
called “A Sickness in the Family”.
she has been adapting the Steig Larsson Millennium Trilogy
as graphic novels. The entire trilogy will be
produced as six graphic
novels. Part one was published in 2012 and the second
is out soon.
In 2006 she wrote her first play, “Ida
Tamson” an adaptation
of a short story which was serialised in the Evening
Times over five nights. The play was part of the Oran Mor ‘A
Play, a Pie and a Pint’ series, starred Elaine C. Smith and
was, frankly, rather super.
Following that came “A Drunk Woman Looks at
a performance poem for Karen Dunbar. Produced at
Oran Mor again, it went onto a three week run at the Edinburgh International
and has been revived several times for one-off
It is a re writing of Hugh Macdairmaid’s 1921
poem “A Drunk
Man Looks at the Thistle” and the transcript
is on this site under ‘other writing’.
“Driving Manuel” is coming to Oran Mor
18th March- 23rd 2013. The play is based on a true story: the bizarre
encounter between the
serial killer Peter Manuel and Peter Watt, the
family he murdered. Watt was charged with the
murders of his family and met
Manuel believing he was going to give him a tip
off about the real killer. They spent eleven hours together and got
very drunk but neither
really talked about that night and no one knows
Edgar Allan Poe: Love, Death and Women” for BBC 4 was a two
hour exploration of the life of Edgar Allan Poe through his relationship
with four of the most important women in his
Forthcoming: “Multum in Parvo” (much in
little) is a documentary about my enormous, extended family by my
extended family and
shown to my enormous extended family.
cousin and I made a film interviewing our elderly relatives about
a family of thirteen
a small three bedroom
Then we filmed a screening of the family
the film and intercut the documentary with
musician, did the sound and music.
as all of this she writes short stories published in various collections,
for BBC Radio 4,
and contributes to TV and
CWA John Creasy Dagger for Best First
Crime Novel 1998
Spirit of Scotland Award
Helena and the Babies:
CWA Best story, Fresh
Blood 2, 2000
The Dead Hour:
End of the Wasp Season:
CWA gold dagger nominated
Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2012
Crimefest eDunnit Award, Best crime eBook
The Golden Crow Bar (Swedish Best Crime
novel in Translation)
Finnish Certificate Of Honour For Foreign
Mystery Writing For 2013
Gods and Beasts: